Hospitals to Obama: Spare us, too

Hospitals on Wednesday urged the White House to delay their cuts under ObamaCare in light of the surprise decision to defer the employer mandate.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) called on federal officials to put off looming cuts to hospitals that deal with mostly uninsured patients.

AHA President Rich Umbdenstock said hospitals could not be expected to operate with smaller reimbursements if employers are not going to expand coverage for another year. 

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"The goal of the [Affordable Care Act] was to extend coverage to the uninsured, which required a shared responsibility from all stakeholders," Umbdenstock said in a statement.

"We are concerned that the delay further erodes the coverage that was envisioned as part of the ACA."

Business groups cheered Tuesday night when the Obama administration announced that it would not enforce penalties under the employer mandate until 2015.

The mandate requires that employers with more than 50 workers provide health insurance or pay fines.

It was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act's larger scheme for ensuring across-the-board healthcare coverage, but was opposed as onerous by business groups.

Hospitals linked the delay to many states' failure to expand their Medicaid programs as the law envisioned.

Umbdenstock emphasized that without a strong expansion of coverage, hospitals that serve the underprivileged do not deserve cuts under Medicare and Medicaid next year.

President Obama's latest budget delayed a scheduled cut to so-called disproportionate share hospitals until 2015.

The AHA called on Obama not to enact the cuts until 2016.